By Allen White
Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. Matthew 10:32-33
This verse used to torment me as a junior higher. I was overweight and smart, which were two huge strikes against any hope of junior high coolness. Now, I needed to be a Jesus freak on top of that? I was socially doomed. But, if I didn’t claim Jesus, then I was eternally doomed. Talk about a dilemma.
Some of us aren’t that far from junior high. We want to avoid the awkwardness of standing out in a negative way. So, I guess the question is whether we can take a stand for Christ and not be a jerk about it.
Some are timid about their faith and don’t want to make a big deal about it. They find themselves squeezed into the world’s mold before they know it (Romans 12:2). They didn’t mean to. They just wanted to fit in. When the culture of this world or the culture of a work environment or even the culture of a group of friends has more effect on us than our relationship with Christ, then we have cause to worry.
But, the opposite problem comes from those who make a big deal about their faith, but don’t live up to it. They lambast the treachery of some sins, but don’t hesitate to gossip or treat others ruthlessly. I’m not talking about candor. We have to be open and honest to get anything done. The problem comes when someone claims Christ, yet doesn’t show Christ.
If any of us were standing before a firing squad in a foreign country, right now in this moment, we would never consider denouncing Christ. We would proclaim Him boldly, because, well, the firing squad isn’t going to happen. That was easy.
But, what happens when the water cooler conversation turns to criticism of Christians. Do you shy away? Do you get in their face? What do you do? Maybe you just acknowledge their feelings, “I’m sorry that you have that opinion of Christians. A lot of us aren’t like that. I’m sorry anybody gave you that impression.” No hell fire. No brim stone. Just an honest acknowledgement.
For more of us, it’s far easier to drift along with the crowd than to take a stand. Even environments with a majority of Christians still tend to drift. After all, Christians “understand” each other. [Wink].
How do you treat criticism of your faith? Do you clam up or do you fire up?
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